Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Oliver Coipel
Color Artists: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino
Unworthy Thor #2 is heralded by thunder, hammers, action, and Beta-Ray Bill as Jason Aaron gives us the second chapter of this must read mini-series.
I’m not gonna front, this is the best book Marvel has produced since the All-New, All-Different, Less Profitable initiative started. Pull out a thesaurus, look up the word “good,” and just read all the adjectives to yourself ad-nauseam for an hour because that’s the best way to describe this book. Call it hyperbole, call it exaggeration, but there’s a sturdy argument that Jason Aaron is the best writer on the Marvel roster and you could crux that argument on this issue alone. It’s everything a second issue should be and I can’t wait for issue 3.
We start where we left off at issue #1 with Thor/Odinson talking to Beta-Ray Bill about his current state of affairs and his quest to retrieve the hammer that fell from the dead Ultimate Universe. The answer to “Why is Asgard missing?” quickly answers itself in the form of stunning action sequence, the series’ main villain presents himself with a deplorable act of villainy, and Odinson swears a deadly reckoning that will come at issue 5. And then. Oh-Devil-in-hell, and then Jason Aaron teases one of the biggest baddies ever to grace a Marvel page for issue 3. See? Keep reading that thesaurus.
Let’s talk story. The pacing is superb as there are equal amounts of action and plot-exposition in the book. Second issues generally have the burden of needing to explain the premise presented in the first issue. For those reasons, they are often considered the weakest portion of a story arc but Aaron completely bucks this trend by using his action sequences to relate the plot. The strongest example of this comes during the villain reveal. The villain goes full-monologue mode while presenting the full depths of his malice. This awakens the “Thor” within “Odinson” as thunder begins to
engulf the set and the hammer calls out to Odinson. In one fell swoop, Aaron not only presents the villain but also progresses Odinson on his journey back towards “worthiness” and reminds the audience of the potential of his story. No one does this better than Aaron.
Aaron also ensnares you with his script. “I haven’t slept because I’ve been afraid of what I’d see if I closed my eyes.” “…He fought with the same fury. He died with a hammer in his hands and the roar of battle on his lips.” These quotes, and many more like them, are poetic, artful, and poignant. Aaron’s scripting and dialogue have always been his strongest weapon and he successfully uses them here to unravel the plot, progress all of the characters, and tantalize our excitement for the next issue. In other words, exactly what needs to be done in a second issue.
Now the art. Honestly, I’m not qualified to talk about just how excellent Olivier Coipel is. I won’t belabor the points I made in my review of the first issue as they all remain true. Coipel once again proves why he’s the definitive Thor artist at Marvel. The action scenes are chaotic and explosive, the panel layout is frantic and emotive, and the aforementioned scene with the villain and Odinson is pulse-pounding. What I admired the most however, is a subtle feature in how Beta-Ray Bill and Odinson were presented. The opening action scene involves both characters proving their mettle against the not-to-be-spoiled-villain’s forces. Here we see Beta-Ray Bill dispatch them with the technique and grace of a warrior while we see Odinson thrashing and brawling wildly with Jarnbjorn. This contrast was surely intentional as it is an excellent device to highlight just how far Odinson has fallen when compared to Bill and is another example of just how well Coipel’s art and Aaron’s story compliment each other.
Verdict: This is the best book Marvel has put out in 2016.
With Unworthy Thor, Aaron and Coipel are holding a masterclass in how to write comic books. I don’t know of any other Marvel title currently on the market that is able to convey more action, more emotion, and more drama than this mini-series. Together, Aaron and Coipel are crafting one of the finest redemption stories I’ve ever read and the only critique I have is that it’s three weeks till the next issue comes out. Drop whatever is on your pull-list and pick up these issues as they come out.